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His Poetry Pays Tribute to Soldiers

October 26, 1989|DAVID REYES

Hung Cuong, who has always kept a pen and paper handy, has written poems under the pen name of Nhat Quoc Tam. Like the songs he sings, his poetry is laced with patriotic tributes to soldiers, refugees and the people of his beloved South Vietnam.

To him, the South Vietnamese people are the innocents; communism, the beast. Many receive his praise, like former Gen. William Westmoreland, and hardly anyone escapes his barbs, especially Jane Fonda. He accused the Oscar-winning actress of spreading the "Stalin virus" during her controversial trip to Hanoi in 1972. He wrote:

How can you kiss men who the day before killed innocent people and set on fire so many innocent villages?

All of you have helped build another Berlin wall, and it is a tribute, a monument for the Russians.

You betrayed 50,000 American soldiers who have sacrificed themselves for freedom.

Most of his poems are nostalgic reminders of how South Vietnam was before the surrender to the North Vietnamese in 1975. Some recall the old path home and tell of walking down a sodden path near where the river turns into the village, and of happy children riding water buffalo that feed near the bamboo-edged river banks.

Others pay homage to refugees who fled Vietnam by boat or land and now find themselves stuck in a refugee camp with their futures in limbo. For example, "In the Refugee Camps" reads:

Are the people here refugees or prisoners?

Young children . . . roam aimlessly, crying out pitifully from the depths of their souls.

A child tells of his mother's and sister's death because cruel and heartless pirates raped and tortured them.

But there will always be Vietnamese people ready and willing to sacrifice themselves once more for our country and heritage.

For Cuong, old soldiers never die. The battle against Communism is not over, which is his premise for the song, "Sound of the Battle Zone":

Let me go back to my homeland

So I can hear the crying voices of my people

Let me go back to the war zones

To visit the freedom fighters who are fighting to save my country

They have been fighting for 10 years, and now is the time for all the Vietnamese people to come together and free their Motherland from the clutches of Communism

Let me go back and wake up the people who are still asleep

And have forgotten their homeland is in turmoil.

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